The Brewers waited as long as they could for Keston Hiura to snap out of his season-long funk. Ultimately, with Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain ready to come off the injured list and needing to make room on the roster, they couldn’t wait any longer.
Yelich and Cain are officially back and in the lineup tonight, but Hiura was sent down to the team’s Alternate Training Site — along with Tyrone Taylor — to make room for their returns.
OF Lorenzo Cain and OF Christian Yelich reinstated from the 10-day injured list.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) May 3, 2021
INF Keston Hiura and OF Tyrone Taylor optioned to the Alternate Training Site. pic.twitter.com/DoIeN2ouuh
Speaking to the media just a few minutes ago, manager Craig Counsell said he still believes in Hiura, both as his main first baseman and as a future impact bat in the lineup, but made it sound like he just needed to clear his head while working on things.
More Counsell on Hiura: "We still really believe that Keston can be our primary first baseman and has the ability to be a force in the middle of the lineup. It just felt like we weren’t there and we were almost getting a little farther from that than closer to that."— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) May 3, 2021
Counsell says Billy McKinney and Dan Vogelbach, who gets the start tonight in Philadelphia, will be the primary options at first base going forward until Hiura can get right. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see Travis Shaw get some time there from time to time.
As our own Jack Stern noted earlier today, things had reached a breaking point for Hiura, who not only was striking out at alarming rates — even for his standards — but simply whiffing on too many pitches in the middle of the zone that most hitters would use to break out of their slumps.
Hiura’s shown the ability to be an impact player at the major league level and has had to go through periods of adjustment at just about every level he’s played at. Here’s to hoping he can rediscover his swing (along with his confidence, as he’s frequently looked demoralized) once he eventually gets to Nashville.
On the brighter side, Cain and Yelich will be in the lineup together for the first time since the first week or so of the season, which should hopefully provide a boost for the Brewers’ struggling offense.